Caring for The Least?

We live in a world that is constantly trying to find ways to do things better or faster, decease a world that doesn’t seem to ever slow down. We all have way too much to do. Yet God tells us not to confirm to the patterns of this world (Rom 12:2) and to stop working for one day each week (Ex 20:8).

A couple of years ago, ailment our family started to really focus on implementing the principle of keeping the Sabbath holy in our home. It started off kind of awkward, not really sure what to do or not to do on this holy of days. Over time, we have gotten into a non-legalistic rhythm that works well for our family, most of the time. Taking the simple step of obedience to practice the Sabbath has revolutionized my faith.

We typically observe Sabbath on Friday or Saturday because those are the days when no one in our family has to go to work or school. If we are taking Sabbath on Friday, we will start Thursday at sundown. My favorite way to start is with a baby-sitter and date night, but that doesn’t always happen.

My Dos & Don’ts
I don’t work, cook or clean. With three little children, this is NOT easy. It requires preparation especially because I like to start with a clean house. Think crock pot breakfast, picnic lunch and a pre-made dinner that you can just pop in the oven. Paper plates & plasticware is how we roll because I have a hard time relaxing with dishes stacked in the sink.

I do play, laugh and pray. The day of rest has been essential in strengthening my relationship with my husband and children. I am so grateful for our uninterrupted time together. However, Sabbath is primarily a day to focus on God and my relationship with Him. During the kids naptime in the afternoon, I allow myself an extended quiet time to really sit and try to hear God’s voice. Observing the Sabbath deepens my dependency on the Lord because there are many times when I have a heavy workload and don’t think that I have time to rest. However, whenever I take that step of obedience, He somehow lightens my load or helps me to be more productive during the other days of the week. When we honor God by keeping the Sabbath holy, He blesses it. (Ex 20:11)

If you aren’t already doing so, experiment with the Sabbath in your home. It isn’t going to be as perfect as you may want it to be, but that is when grace comes in. As you practice, remember Jesus’ words in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
At Christmastime, side effects
it blesses me to be able to give well thought out gifts to my friends, website like this
family and especially my children. In the same way, Jesus wants us to love His family, His children. As daughters of the King, and sisters in Christ’s family, we share in the responsibility of helping care for His family as well. Please read God’s heart for serving the least as it is written out in Matthew 25:31-46: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A31-46&version=NIV

Picture this prophecy coming to life. Jesus returns and sits on His throne. All the nations of the world are gathered before Him. The first thing He will do is “separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (v. 32)

Jesus tells the sheep to take their glorious kingdom inheritance “for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (v. 35-36) The sheep are astonished because they did not know when they had done those things. Jesus’ response is, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (v. 40, italics mine) The surprised sheep had been living spirit led lives, unconsumed with counting good works. Just as easily as a good tree bears good fruit, sheep care for people. They also work for the Lord rather than for men. (Colossians 3:23) and this pleases God. In John 12:26 Jesus says, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Though we may not receive earthly honor for good deeds, we can trust in the truth that our Heavenly Father will honor us.

At the separation, the goats are shocked as well, but for different reasons. They are just as ignorant of their lack of caring as the sheep were of their good works. The thing about the goats is that if they had known that Jesus was in need, they probably would have cared for him. Goats live their life by the law and work only when they think it counts.

We are saved only because Christ became the least of all and died on the cross to cover our sins. In response to the Love He has lavished upon us, how could we not care for the least?

This holiday season, instead of focusing all of your attention on your loved ones, I’d challenge you to think about “the least” and how you can serve them. There are always opportunities through Seacoast to do this, but I would also encourage you to prayerfully examine the rhythms of your everyday life and see where God may open your eyes. Sisters, we all have opportunities to interact with “the least.” Choose to address and not ignore them. Whether it is a slight alteration in your lifestyle or a radical change, may the Holy Spirit lead us to serve the least as if we were serving the one true King Himself!